So, I discovered Bomb Girls a week ago and blazed through all six episodes in one sitting…well, laying in bed, but that's beside the point. With my new found obsession being Kate and Betty, I decided 'well, it's not like I've not got a whole bunch of other people totally waiting on updates for other stories I've written, might as well write some fluff and do a character study on the way.'
And thus, this was born.
I heard her scream and it was only a second before I was crossing the hall and throwing open her door.
On any other night, I would've left well enough alone. Kate had had nightmares before, nightmares where she was crying, screaming if they were real bad. But tonight was different. She hadn't screamed in months. And with the events that happened earlier, I didn't want to risk anything.
"Kate?" I called to her, finding her crying in her bed, the sheets tangled around her legs, a pillow clutched to her chest. I paused for a moment, feeling a pang of emotion strike my heart at seeing her so distressed. "Oh Kate," I breathed, walking towards her. I knelt down beside her, my knee's aching as they rested on the cold wood floor.
It was only a few hours after I came home from the movies to find Kate in a confrontation with her father in this very room. A sight that had scared the living daylights out of me, especially knowing her history with the man. After seeing the bruises and scars on her back, his character was crystal clear. I didn't want to think of what could've happened had I not shown up just in time.
I pushed away the hot flash of rage that swept through me as the thought of him giving his daughter those lashings shot through my mind. The sick bastard, I thought, beating down his own daughter…
Marian. The name suddenly rang through my mind as I stared at the stirring girl's features. I mentally shook my head. I didn't see it. She didn't look like a Marian.
She looked like a Kate.
She pulled me close in a near-neck breaking hug, sobbing into my shoulder. I rubbed her back, my thoughts frantic as I couldn't think of what to do. People weren't my forte. I wasn't the best consoler, more like a 'walk away and pretend I didn't see anything' kind of gal. I cursed myself mentally for regularly practicing the 'don't touch me' tough girl act.
Don't get me wrong, I did care for the women I worked with, but with Kate…it was different somehow. More important, almost. "Kate, Kate it's okay." I told her quietly, kissing her cheek gently, struggling to find a way to ease her fear. "I'm here, Kate, I'm here." She released me slowly, lying back down on the pillow. I pushed the tangled hair from her face gently, watching her wet eyes open slowly.
I smiled at her, my heart breaking just a little bit more at the innocence within her light irises. "Hey." I whispered, tucking the final lock behind her ear before crossing my arms on the mattress and resting my chin on them, trying to act cool.
"Hi." She murmured, exhaustion clear in her voice.
"Another nightmare?" I asked and she nodded, embarrassment obvious on her face.
"Yeah…was I making a lot of noise?" I nodded slightly. "I'm sorry I woke you."
"Naw, Kate," I smiled despite the situation, not believing how she could be sorry right then when she'd been scared out of her mind. "Don't sweat it. I promised to look after you, remember?" She took my hand and held it between both of hers, sniffling. We sat in silence for a long time, me watching her play with my fingers, bending each digit gently.
She was so adorable that I had to smile.
So sweet it blew me away.
"Will you stay?" she asked me suddenly, right as my eyes began to slowly close with my own exhaustion. I perked right up again. "I mean, with me tonight? I just…I don't want to be alone; I got so used to not having nightmares…" I took a second to gather my jumping heart and scattered thoughts and nodded.
"Kay." I said softly, standing up, hating that I had to pull my hand from hers. I looked around the room and then back to the hall. "I'll just run and get my blanket and pillow so I can set up a place on the ground." She nodded "I'll just be a second, okay?" I walked out into the hallway, entering my room and stopping once I was out of her view. I leaned my back against the wall, wishing the butterflies away with all my might.
I liked Kate. I mean I really liked Kate. Far more than I should have. Sometimes even being in the same room with her was unbearable. All of her words meant more than they were meant to. Every touch was burned into my memory like they'd been put there by branding irons. I smacked my forehead with the heel of my hand.
Get a grip, Betty. I scolded myself. Taking a deep breath, I scooped the blanket and pillow from the bed and headed back across the hall. When I entered, I was surprised to find Kate sitting up, looking at her fingers. I paused by the door.
God, did she look beautiful.
Her hair framed her face like liquid copper; her eyes reflected the moonlight like pools of water, her skin looked so soft and the lightest of whites that it was almost unreal, far lighter than the peach nightgown she wore. I stood there, just admiring her like a total sap for a few perfect moments. She looked up.
"Hi." I said, suddenly feeling like an idiot as a hot blush blazed across my cheeks. I kicked myself mentally before dropping the pillow to the floor and organizing the blanket. "So, they're showing a new film later this week, supposed to be some romance-spy flick. I thought we could go check it out."
"I mean, if that's alright with you and everything. I don't wanna pressure you—"
"—because that's not the kind of person I am, nor do I want you to think that's the kind of person I am. Because I'm not. You know? I mean, we can just go out for a drink or you could go and do your own thing while I do mine, if you've got something planned with Gladys. Not that Gladys and I are the only ones you can have plans with. You can have plans with anyone you'd like, I just meant that—"
"Betty!" I looked at the red head finally, finding a slightly bemused and playfully annoyed look on her soft features. I kicked myself mentally for rambling like a nervous school boy. "Get in bed." I looked down at the blanket and the pillow.
"Um…that's what—what I was doing." I gave her a confused half smile. She rolled her eyes and patted the space behind her in her bed. "Kate, I—"
"Betty, the floor is freezing cold and rock hard. I'm not going to have you sleeping there if it could hurt you." She patted the bed again and I jumped like a lap dog, walking around to that side, completely forgetting the pillow and blanket on the floor.
I lifted the blanket carefully, like moving too fast would shatter whatever kind of hallucination this was. I laid my head down on the pillow as she moved it so we both had an equal amount. I kept my hands to myself, not wanting to do something that would freak her out or upset her even more. Or, at least that had been my plan until she reached back, grabbing my hand that was tucked into my chest. She pulled me so I was forced to move closer to her as she wrapped that arm around her waist, her fingers lacing with mine.
I sat still for a moment, my arm around her midsection, her body against mine, and let myself take that moment. I let myself embrace her the way she wanted me to. The way I wanted to. With my freehand, I ran my fingers over her spine gently, feeling the slight rise of her scars on her back. She sighed softly, her tense body unwinding at my touch, making me smile softly. How did she make the scent of soap and water smell so good?
"Do they hurt?" I asked her softly, counting the lines like tallies. "Your scars, I mean?" She shook her head.
"They used to. Not anymore though." I smiled until the memory of just hours ago came flooding back.
"When I found you and your father earlier…" her body tensed again "I was so scared for you, Kate. If he had hurt you again, I swear to God I would've—"
"Betty," She turned so she could look at me, lying on her back. "It's okay." I shook my head, feeling a swell of emotion starting in my throat.
"But what if it hadn't been? What if he'd done something and I wasn't there to stop him?" I looked away from her, trying to hide the tears burning in my eyes. "I've seen what he's done to you already."
"Betty, you can't be with me twenty-four-seven. You couldn't have known he was going to find me. I didn't even know he was going to find me…are you crying?" She asked, genuinely concerned for me. I forced a smile and wiped at my eyes roughly.
"Yeah, alert the media! Betty McRae does have a heart."
"Betty, I don't know why you think you're such a terrible person." I shook my head, really not wanting to talk about it anymore. She pushed the stray lock of hair behind my ear and smiled at me.
"You seem to be the only one who thinks so."
"What about Gladys? And Mrs. Corbett?"
"There's a difference to being liked and being respected, Kate."
"Gladys likes you. Despite all the times you were mean to her."
"If you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly a people person."
"I noticed." I rolled my eyes at the teasing twist to her lips. "in all honesty, Betty, you need to give yourself more credit. I think your swell."
"Well, gosh, Ms. Andrews, you sure know how to make a girl blush." I caught a swift elbow to the ribs that left me laughing and breathless. She rolled back so she faced away from me again. I smiled at her again, in wonder at how she could make me feel so much better about myself with a few words and a simple touch.
I settled back in behind her, pulling her to me tightly with the arm around her waist. I leaned my head against her shoulder, letting the warm smell of soap and water from her bath fill me. Sooth me. And, with her finger tips gliding over my forearm, our roles reversed. I let her comfort me and tame the emotions raging in my heart. I let myself go and give into her warmth and tenderness. For the first time in a long time, I finally felt at peace. Like all of my worries and self conscious concerns evaporated.
And, in the light of the moon, I found myself a home.